Kennesaw says no to Internet-based security for schools
by Rachel Gray
April 04, 2014 04:00 AM | 4031 views | 4 4 comments | 16 16 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Bill Westenberger
Bill Westenberger
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Mark Mathews
Mark Mathews
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KENNESAW — A Texas-based vendor pitching an Internet-based security system for Cobb schools was given another resounding “no” by the Kennesaw City Council.

Frederick Price, who said he was a former police officer in Cobb and also served in the military, presented Wednesday a new product developed by CopSync 911.

The software program would connect staff at a school, government building or bank that are under a threat to a 911 dispatch, either using a mobile phone application or computer desktop.

Price said teachers, administrators and trained custodial or cafeteria staff would have access. Students would not.

The typed information containing the exact location of the attack in the building and the kind of threat would be sent as an instant messages in real time to police officers in the field.

“The key things is this is all quiet,” said Price, who said the product would “speed things up.”

Price said the business or government entity would need to have the software program installed on their system’s computer network.

The responding police agency would also need to install the program on dispatch computers and make the program available over wireless high-speed Internet communications in patrol cars.

CopSync has few takers in Cobb

CopSync 911 was developed in Texas, with more than 150 of the 254 Texas counties on the CopSync information sharing network, according to Price.

Still, despite claims that “this software will save children’s lives,” Price said the company has made unsuccessful pitches to the Cobb County Police Department and the Cobb County School District.

Price told the City Council that St. Catherine’s of Sienna, located off Ben King Drive between Cherokee Street and McCollum Parkway, wants to install CopSync911, but needs the Kennesaw Police Department to also sync with the program.

The annual fee for a school would be $1,200, said Price. The price tag for a law enforcement agency would depend on how many dispatch computers are used and the number of patrol vehicles that would be connected.

Kennesaw Chief of Police Bill Westenberger said after Wednesday’s work session charging both the school system and the police department is a doubling down of payments on taxpayers.

He was also leery of the cost for his department, which has 40 patrol cars.

CopSync 911 is just one vendor, said Westenberger, who has not spoken about the high-tech program with administrators at the Cobb school system or other police departments in Cobb.

Westenberger said if an enhanced system is needed, the Kennesaw Police Department will look into multiple vendors.

Officers juggle mobile devices at scene

Mayor Mark Mathews said he did not see a need for Kennesaw to install the program if the Cobb school system is not interested.

“That is the driving agency for us,” Mathews said. “Everyone has to sign off for this to work.”

If an alert about an active shooter was triggered on the CopSync 911 program, all the computers in the school and mobile phones of staff would be alerted with running updates in a chat room. The system also stores interior maps of area schools.

Councilman Tim Killingsworth, who is from Denton, Texas, and served in the Marine Corps, pointed out logistical problems with CopSync 911 Wednesday night.

First, Killingsworth said the program would rely on the teachers, who would most likely be hiding under a desk, having access to computers to provide the minute-by-minute updates.

He also said it would be difficult for police officers to move down a hall searching for the shooter will navigating a map.

“Obviously, a police officer doesn’t have a chat in their hands; they have a firearm,” Killingsworth said.

Westenberger also said the promises made by Price on Wednesday night about how well the system would perform may not holdup during a school shooting.

Comments
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Tired of Timmy
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April 09, 2014
Teachers under a desk, really Timmy? I guess it was you taking the Hill to place the flag, oh no, that was the Buffett line plate you were carrying for you and your buddy Mathews! Teachers need every help they can get, and as usual the ticket book toting chief says well I might have to say no because I might have to pull "Barney" off the beat to give him his bullet and send way across town to help Timmy's teacher whose hiding...really? When are we going to get rid of Marky the chow hound and his know it all gronies in City Hall, what happened to our leadership, guess LC, JS and DW were a sounding improvement, oh wait they are hiding with Timmy under the desk at City Hall
Door Slam
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April 07, 2014
This sounds like an great oppurtunity to look into the safety of our schools, it's a shame they seemed to "slam" the door closed
Alert Citizen
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April 05, 2014
Rachel Gray, you might remember this story about Mr. Price...

The Marietta Daily Journal - MHS grad s character targeted in ...

mdjonline.com/.../article-MHS-grad-s-character-targeted-in-murder-case-

Nov 9, 2013 - Another twist to the case is that the murder weapon allegedly belonged to Cobb County Deputy Sheriff, Fredrick Price, which led to him being ...
Be Careful
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April 04, 2014
Wow, Tim. Teachers will be hiding under their desks. What a slam at our educators.

I do agree that options need to be looked at. But certainly a system as described could speed up response and save lives.

I also find it interesting that they don't want to spend tax payer money on something like this, yet, they gladly pump hundreds of thousands of dollars into a failing museum and gardens that nobody visits.

Reduce the tax money flowing into those two money pits and maybe you'd have some to spend on something that is really worth while.
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